Look at me now! : Exploring identity narratives of first generation, Mexican-American college students


Look at me now! : Exploring identity narratives of first generation, Mexican-American college students

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dc.contributor.advisor Maxwell, Madeline M.
dc.creator Madero, Flor Leos
dc.date.accessioned 2012-10-04T20:47:01Z
dc.date.available 2012-10-04T20:47:01Z
dc.date.created 2012-08
dc.date.issued 2012-10-04
dc.date.submitted August 2012
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2152/ETD-UT-2012-08-6090
dc.description.abstract Although the Mexican population continues to be the largest Hispanic group in the United States, educational attainment is not increasing at a proportionate rate. First generation, Mexican-American students continue to have low enrollment in higher education institutions and high levels of attrition. Socioeconomic variables and ethnicity have correlated highly with these outcomes for thirty years, and programs have proliferated to address them, without much impact. Perhaps we need new approaches. This study investigates the lived experience of students attempting a university education. The goal of this research was to take the topic of educational achievement one step further by exploring identity development factors for first generation, Mexican-American college students via personal narratives. Researchers have long observed that people come to make sense of life via stories (Bruner, 1990; McAdams, 1985; Sarbin, 1986). Personal stories help to make sense of the past as well as foresee the future while helping to define current identity via recalling and/or retelling stories, particularly for emerging adults. Identity creation and negation was explored via McAdams’ life story model of identity: identity is an ever changing life story that strives for psychosocial unity and seeks purpose in relation to the world. The data collected from sixteen first generation, Mexican-American students at one university revealed that factors such as familial connections, cultural capital, generational immigration status, and self-discovery opportunities contribute to the ongoing creation and negotiation of identity. The outcome was the development of an identity soundboard which provides a visual representation of identity factors, each with its own control button, which is constantly adjusted according to individual experiences and narratives. The significance of these results is two-fold. One, it provides students and educators with a new perspective on identity development which can translate into new ways to address academic retention, attrition, and success. And two, it provides identity researchers with a new, customizable model with which to explore a variety of identity development processes, adaptable to specific research interests. The Hispanic community is a key player to the nation’s economic future, making efforts to foster a well-educated workforce a priority. Colleges and universities stand to benefit from a tailored approach to outreach and retention of students. It is by obtaining a glimpse of students’ reality that we can, as faculty, staff, and administrators, make changes that can positively affect their educational experience and outcome.
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.language.iso eng
dc.subject College students
dc.subject Hispanic
dc.subject Narratives
dc.subject Identity
dc.subject Fictive kinship
dc.subject Immigration
dc.subject Self-discovery
dc.title Look at me now! : Exploring identity narratives of first generation, Mexican-American college students
dc.date.updated 2012-10-04T20:47:11Z
dc.identifier.slug 2152/ETD-UT-2012-08-6090
dc.contributor.committeeMember Browning, Larry D.
dc.contributor.committeeMember Guzman, Michele R.
dc.contributor.committeeMember McGlone, Matthew S.
dc.contributor.committeeMember Saenz, Victor B.
dc.description.department Communication Studies
dc.type.genre thesis
dc.type.material text
thesis.degree.department Communication Studies
thesis.degree.discipline Communication Studies
thesis.degree.grantor University of Texas at Austin
thesis.degree.level Doctoral
thesis.degree.name Doctor of Philosophy

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